Find Out What You Like
The notion of issuing out into the world and personally obtaining food for himself or aid for Leek, did genuinely seem to Priam Farll an impossible notion; he had never done such things. For him a shop was an impregnable fort garrisoned by ogres. Besides, it would have been necessary to ‘ask,’ and ‘asking’ was the torture of tortures.
So he had wandered, solicitous and helpless, up and down the stairs, until at length Leek, ceasing to be a valet and deteriorating into a mere human organism, had feebly yet curtly requested to be just let alone, asserting that he was right enough. Whereupon the envied of all painters, the symbol of artistic glory and triumph, had assumed the valet’s notorious puce dressing-gown and established himself in a hard chair for a night of discomfort.
The bell rang once more, and there was a sharp impressive knock that reverberated through the forlorn house in a most portentous and terrifying manner. It might have been death knocking. It engendered the horrible suspicion, “Suppose he’s seriously ill?” Priam Farll sprang up nervously, braced to meet ringers and knockers.
Working with Peers
On the other side of the door, dressed in frock coat and silk hat, there stood hesitating a tall, thin, weary man who had been afoot for exactly twenty hours, in pursuit of his usual business of curing imaginary ailments by means of medicine and suggestion, and leaving real ailments to nature aided by coloured water. His attitude towards the medical profession was somewhat sardonic, partly because he was convinced that only the gluttony of South Kensington provided him with a livelihood, but more because his wife and two fully-developed daughters spent too much on their frocks.
Read, Watch, Idealize
For years, losing sight of the fact that he was an immortal soul, they had been treating him as a breakfast-in-the-slot machine: they put a breakfast in the slot, pushed a button of his waistcoat, and drew out banknotes.
For this, he had neither partner, nor assistant, nor carriage, nor holiday: his wife and daughters could not afford him these luxuries. He was able, conscientious, chronically tired, bald and fifty. He was also, strange as it may seem, shy; though indeed he had grown used to it, as a man gets used to a hollow tooth or an eel to skinning. No qualities of the young girl’s heart about the heart of Dr. Cashmore! He really did know human nature, and he never dreamt of anything more paradisaical than a Sunday Pullman escapade to Brighton.